Saturday, June 26, 2010

When Literature Turns to Crime

The feeling is there is a very clear line of demarcation between the two things. With crime, romance, science fiction, we are considered to be writers within a formulaic genre, whereas literary writers are considered to be 'moving freely', as it were. ...  There has always been a feeling that literary fiction is improving, that you come away from reading it and you're a better person for it. No one ever said that about reading a crime novel – although maybe you come away feeling happier.

Australia's top literary award, the Miles Franklin award has this year gone to crime writer, Peter Temple whose novel Truth is :
... a story about murder, deceit, police corruption and politics set amid the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria.
Could Britain's top literary prize, the Man Booker prize ever go to a crime novel? asks Alison Flood in The Guardian. She talks, among others to critic John Sutherland (who feels it is unlikely) and crime novelist Ian Rankin (who feels that attitudes to crime fiction are changing.)
Temple says in the article that writing crime was just :
... an excuse to write. ... It gives a sense of urgency, of narrative drive. My characters have a reason to get up in the morning. Ian McEwan, who I think is wonderful, his characters do not really have an urgent reason to get up in the morning ... 
 And he feels that:
There is only one judgment for the value of a book, and that is what sort of emotional response it elicits in the reader. That's down to the quality of the writing.
It will certainly be interesting to see what happens when Temple's novel is submitted for the Booker this year!


KT said...

Please don't take this the wrong way, but I don't see what all of the fuss is about. Why should the crime fiction genre be any different then any other when it comes to literary prizes? Any great book should be rewarded.

Amir Muhammad said...

When I read the title of this post, I thought it would be about another plagiarism scandal!